The Wauna post office is one of numerous branches nationwide delivering packages on Sundays exclusively for Seattle-based online retailer Amazon as part of a five-year pilot program to increase revenue for the United States Postal Service.
“Amazon wants delivery seven days a week, so the Postal Service is happy to accommodate them on Sundays and holidays,” said Ernie Swanson, USPS corporate media regional spokesperson. “We’re grateful to have that added parcel volume. It’s very important business for us.”
Larger Amazon parcels that don’t fit in mailboxes could lead to a knock on the door or a note from a postal carrier on Sundays.
Sunday Amazon deliveries are not made by unionized career postal carriers, but are delivered by newly hired city carrier assistants (CCAs) or rural carrier assistants (RCAs) who are paid less and have fewer benefits than career postal workers. While some may see this as a bad thing, the USPS decision to hire CCA employees was made pursuant to an agreement with the National Association of Letter Carriers.
It wasn’t long ago that USPS considered discontinuing Saturday mail delivery because of billions of dollars in annual budget deficits. Once the mainstay of Postal Service revenue, first-class mail continues to decline because of online banking, paperless billing and the growing use of emerging communication technologies.
“Our parcel volume, not just from Amazon, is up in general, which is really helping keep us afloat,” Swanson said.
With highly automated systems and vastly improved technology, including GPS location tracking, USPS can quickly provide detailed tracking information, delivery confirmation and location data on most parcels. USPS is continuing to transform to capture more of the increased volume of parcels due partly to the overall expansion of e-commerce, Swanson said.
All Key Peninsula post offices participate in the last-mile delivery program, in which smaller parcels originally shipped by vendors via UPS and FedEx are dropped off early each morning and sorted to go out with USPS carriers for final delivery to customers on their daily runs. Locally, only Wauna is delivering on Sundays for the present. The program has generally been a success.
“On very rare occasions, an address without a mailbox can present difficulties in some locations,” Swanson said. “USPS takes customer service very seriously and each parcel is important. We make every attempt to get the parcels to our customers.
“The Wauna postmaster, Shima Garrison, confirmed they receive roughly 500 to 600 parcels per day and probably half of them are last mile delivery packages. She indicated she receives very few complaints from customers,” Swanson said.
Editor’s note: USPS permits only its designated spokespersons to speak with the press. Local postal workers could not be interviewed for this article.